Saxon evidence in Washington DC…


One of the most fascinating aspects of studying the past is the constant question that pops into ones head “what was it like to live back then” (then being anywhere between 10,000 BC to yesterday in terms of the “treasure” I find in the Eversdens.

It is even more of a puzzle to ponder when I find myself sitting in the plush new BA lounge in Washington about to board a giant silver bird and fly, with a tail wind and a belly full of Chardonnay, back home to England. With the wonders of free (gasp yes free) wifi, I find myself with a rare opportunity to type and ponder and update my blog with the results of my recent trip out with my detector. Despite the snow before and after Christmas, I managed one trip to a known good field and another a speculative wander near the Church.

First the “good field”. This field has turned up artefacts form the 13th thru to the 19th century and is banded by pretty old paths. The pottery from the field is largely 13-14th century and the coins from the paths go from the 16th right thru to the 20th century. I will post these as a group shortly but today’s post is more concerned with this fascinating object:

Harness Decoration - Brooch?
Hmmm another oddity

Now those of you who have followed this blog (thank you!), know one of my dreams is to find evidence of Saxon occupation…and I have to admit when I pulled this copper disc from the soil and saw the decoration and the gold leaf on it (and yes before I put my glasses on and had a good look) I thought I had found a Saxon brooch.

Sadly, again, I don’t think I have. Whilst I cant be certain yet until I submit the photo for identification to the UKFD and to my local Archaeological PAS expert, I think the piece is some form of elaborate decoration for either a horse bridal or part of a decoration for a piece of furniture, or even maybe a gaming piece. The incisions and punching and overall decoration looks mechanically applied rather than the more florid Anglo Saxon style of art. So again, I am thawted in my search for the Saxons of Eversden……Or am I….

One the way to the good field as I mentioned I spent 30 minutes or so near the Church. Nothing metallic of note was found but I did find this:

St Neots Ware (?) - 10th to 12th Century - Late Saxon

Now I know most of you will be as impressed and as intrigued as I was with this potentially significant sherd of pottery, but for those of you who have stumbled across this page let me explain.In the Late Saxon period there were 3 main fabric groups these are known as Thetford, Stamford and St Neots Ware. All the pottery fabrics display a number of basic forms (the type of pot being thrown) and most display a similar type of construction.

The St Neots late Saxon pottery industry flourished in the 10th to 11th centuries and seems to have originated in the second half of the 9th century, becoming most common after 875. The industry as it can be defined, ended in the 12th century. The piece displayed looks to me like a piece of St Neots Ware. Typically this is a coarse fabric which contains “inclusions” of fossil shell fragments and pieces of quartz. On the whole the pottery is a browny colour sometimes grey. Although first recognized in and around St Neots (Nr Huntingdon (which is approximately 20 miles from the Eversdens)), other kilns are known to exit more to the west of the region in and around Northampton. If it is St Neots ware then it is likely this was locally produced pot however. St Neots Ware – as a style – existed from the 10th to the 12th Century….If this piece is confirmed as St Neots ware then at last I have my first Saxon evidence….Watch this space!!!

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